After 3 decades, the world's largest iceberg has shifted, breaking free from the Antarctic ocean floor. This movement raises concerns about potential challenges for local wildlife in the region.
Iceberg A23a detached from the western Ronne Ice Shelf and drifted in the Weddell Sea before becoming grounded on the ocean floor in 1986
The piece of ice, at a size of 1,500 square miles and weighing nearly a trillion metric tons, is about three times the size of New York City.
The iceberg is set to exit Antarctic shallows and navigate through the broader Southern Ocean along "iceberg alley," where other ice chunks are present.
Upon reaching South Georgia Island, the iceberg might become entangled again, posing a potential threat to local wildlife by obstructing vital access to necessary food resources.
If the iceberg doesn't pose issues for South Georgia, it might move towards South Africa, potentially leading to significant disruptions in shipping lanes.
As the iceberg melts, it might release minerals collected during its time as a glacier, offering some nutrients to local organisms. However, this may not compensate for the potential short-term loss of food access.